THE SEVENTEENTH CENTURY 241 2. JOHN AMOS COMENIUS AND GERMAN EDUCATION The great educational activity stimulated by the Reformation in Germany, which had led first to a widespread establishment of universities and schools in the Protestant States, and then to a powerful counter-movement on similar lines on the part of the Jesuits, was almost at an end by the beginning of the Seven- teenth Century. The Treaty of Augsburg in 1555 had brought a temporary peace by putting the settlement of religious questions into the hands of the rulers of the States, and had permitted the continuance of educational improvements already under way. But the evil day was only deferred. Many disputed questions had been left unsettled, and the strife of sects within the several States and the enmity between States of different persuasions only grew worse as time went on, till the terrible climax was reached in the Thirty Years War (1618-1648). In such troubled times the energies of the people were too fully occupied to allow much attention to be given to education, and little progress of any kind was possible until the Seventeenth Century had run its course and the States had begun to recover from the devastations of fratricidal war. Even under these conditions the zeal for education which had animated the Protestant leaders and their opponents was not entirely quenched. But for the most part the reformers of the Seventeenth Century moved on a lower level of thought than their predecessors. They were generally content to leave funda- mental problems about education and life untouched, and to confine themselves to the more superficial details of educational method. " Recently," says Comenius, in a passage that uncon- sciously reveals the spirit of the times, " it has pleased God to let the morning glow of a newly-rising age appear, in which He has inspired some good men in Germany, who, weary of the confused method of instruction employed in the schools, have begun to think out an easier and shorter way of teaching the languages and the arts."* Good methods of teaching are cer- tainly of great importance, and the evolution of method is an essential part of educational progress to which the Teutonic genius has made many notable contributions. But educators who make this their main concern betray a pettiness of mind that * Keatinge, The Great Didactic, second edition, p. 7.